While looking through some of the most recent entries in our ongoing vintage tackle contest, these Keating Floating Sinkers caught my eye. I had never heard of such a thing before, and after learning what they do, I equate them to one of those fishing products you’d see on a late-night info-mercial. The photo was sent in by Jesse Martinez, who got the sinker set from his wife’s 83-year-old grandfather. I can totally see my grandfather buying these, too, thinking they’d be all the rage.


Keating’s Sinkers may not have had a long lifespan in the angling world, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interesting collectibles. Let’s see what vintage tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog, had to say about them:

“The Keating Floating Sinker was surely a fascinating idea that seemed to have hooked more than a few anglers, even if it didn’t help hook many fish. Produced by the Keating Manufacturing Corporation in Denver, Colorado in the 1950s, they are not sinkers in the traditional sense, but a hollow metal tube designed to slowly sink a fisherman’s bait. This early example of “count-down” fishing is best summed up in the company’s paperwork, which declared boldly “The name ‘Floating Sinker’ is not as contradictory as it may appear…Left motionless in the water, it will sink, retrieved slowly, it will rise, retrieved at full speed it will skip along the surface of the water.” It was made in three sizes and in at least three metallic finishes. The company also made some wicked spring-loaded lures. The value of the Floating Sinkers in their original plastic case is $10-$20. You can see some examples of Keating Floating Sinkers by clicking here.”


Maybe not worth the big bucks, Jesse, but very cool pieces of tackle and something I’d say you won’t find at many flea markets considering how many sinkers anglers lose. Congrats, and keep an eye on the mailbox for your new pliers!

If you’ve already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven’t and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.